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Animal shelters? No-kill shelters? Rescues?

Posted on: June 26th, 2009 by

So you’ve decided to adopt a dog or cat? Good for you! Each new adoption helps to curb the crisis of animal overpopulation in America.

But when it comes to pet adoption, where do you start? An animal shelter or no-kill shelter? A rescue organization? What’s the difference, anyway?

Let’s start with traditional animal shelters. Most communities have one, working on the front lines to fight the problem of animal overpopulation. Faced with an overwhelming number of homeless pets and a limited amount of space and resources, these shelters keep dogs and cats for a certain amount of time. Those that are not adopted are humanely euthanized, or “put to sleep.” Animals that are very old, seriously ill, or have behavior problems may be euthanized sooner than the healthy ones that have a better chance of being adopted.

As an alternative, no-kill rescue shelters do not euthanize. They may send dogs to foster homes to be raised and looked after until a permanent living situation can be found.

Both local animal shelters and no-kill rescue shelters take good care of the pets that end up there. They bathe, feed, and administer any medications the animals need until adoption. However, no-kill shelters often make sure that animals get love and human interaction, keeping them well socialized, while traditional shelters might not.

Animal rescue groups, also known as animal rescue organizations, usually specialize in a specific breed (such as Siamese cats or Greyhound dogs) or type of pet (such as toy dogs or hunting dogs). While these may be a great option for people who are set on a specific type of animal, don’t forget that you can find plenty of purebred animals in any shelter.

No matter what kind of shelter you choose, don’t assume that the animals are there because they are “bad.” The majority of shelter cats and dogs are there because of bad circumstances, whether their owners died, or had to move, or could not care for their pet anymore. But one thing is certain—with so many animals to choose from, you’ll be able to find a loving pet that will be perfect for you and your family.

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